Thursday, September 12, 2019

Blue is for Girls and Pink is for Boys

As in introvert I have found this rapidly ending summer to be a little "too much" in my face. I spent two weeks very closely interacting with relatives in July. I returned home to spending parts of weeks with my grandsons, involving planning days full of activities and love and joy.  This was followed by a weekend visit from my son and his wife, where I tried to give them a bit of respite from their demanding  lives. 

This coming weekend I am entertaining another young couple and their 2-year-old that I have not seen in 18 months, when the child was an infant.  I still am not sure why they are coming.  They want to expose the daughter to marine life...or  something like that!  While I am  flattered they think we are  good guides, I am also so done with company.  After all, in early October I am going to be on a 3 week  trip with my  family across China.  That should be a pleasure and so exhausting.  Those lonely short days of winter cannot come too  soon.

The coming visitors are "modern" parents focusing on gender neutral activities and ideas, even to the point of not allowing pink in the nursery.  It makes me realize that my ignorance of colors  and color stereotypes perhaps saved my sanity.  I had both a boy and a girl and therefore our house was full of all types of toys and books and I just let them play with whatever they wanted.  They also spent years in foreign countries which certainly broadened their view of the world and gender standards.  Seeing men in sarongs and skirts was common.  My daughter was a blue jeans kind of pre-teen and teenager and I did miss having the fun of dressing her up, but not the drama that comes with most girl teens!   Oddly today she wears designer clothes for her job.

My son participated in sports because we insisted for social  and health reasons, but music was his space for retreating and recharging.  Today his  hobby is songwriting.

While gender neutrality has its place, I think it is better to  focus on shelter and  rest in any color.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Things I Learned and Did Not Learn This Summer

I purchased a second hummingbird feeder so that the hummers would fight less and find that they prefer only one. I switch them and it makes no difference as they will still go to the preferred feeder. The feeders are identical. Hummm?

I learned when you buy tickets to an event at the Kennedy Center, it is not always a culturally accurate presentation and can be a political sham. (Explanation maybe in another post.) Anyway, the evenings are so worth going up there.

We once again missed the Dragonboat races but were down at the water the night before when eyes were being painted and tongues coated. Maybe I will learn to be better organized next year.

I learned that my husband will always have enormous ideas for projects!

I learned if you accidentally tear a turtle egg in the compost pile, you are responsible and it will change your kitchen for a few weeks.

I learned that when your daughter says the kids may be too busy to come down during the summer, at the last minute you will get at least two of them. What fun!

I also learned that leaving a teenager alone to bathe in your Jacuzzi can be a surprising experience for both of you...modesty notwithstanding.

Never too old to learn!

Monday, August 26, 2019

Night Visitors

End of August and all of September usually mean the height of crabbing season. Some folks find the whole crustacean body thing offputting. Some folks like crab but prefer it picked by someone else and put into a nice patty with no filler and good seasonings. At our house, we wade in full steam and dump the steamed crabs in a bowl where we can pick them with crab picking tools and get our hands all greasy and out chins covered in Old Bay seasoning. No, I do not have a photo of that disgusting practice. But we are catching crabs and freezing a few while cooking and eating most of the others this month.

The photo above is a bit blurry, but this is what they do, holding claws before we dump them in the steamer pot.

We catch our crabs off our dock by baiting large chicken wire baskets with fish heads or chicken necks and leaving the traps in the water overnight. We now have new neighbors and while heading out the other day for a boating trip I caught this photo of them enjoying their new house on the water. They do not have a boat, but are trying to line-bait their crabs! They brought down family and friends for this new family tradition.  We have also crabbed this way.

Some of our neighbors take out a small skiff and drop floating baited crab traps marked by buoys in the early morning and then go out and check them at dusk.

There is one caveat when eating crabs.  We usually dump the remaining shell and parts back into the river rather than our compost pile.  Sometimes we get lazy.  

One recent night I heard rumbling and thudding and at first wondered if someone was trying to break into the garage.  Then my deductions got honed as I headed toward the back deck and turned on the deck light.

He was wading in full throttle and covered in crab juices.  Turning on the light was a very mild distraction.

Lesson learned.  Get those crab remains out to the river right after dinner!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Loose Ends

When I get depressed as I have been (see prior post) I tend to focus on chores and all those bits and pieces of life that I have put off.  I make lists and do stuff and then check each off as it is completed or removed, and I illude delude myself into thinking I am accomplishing so much before mortality intrudes.  I am like some smell driven animal as I explore all the corners of my life that are still buried under months of activity.

I made a few donations that I had been putting off. It gave me the illusion that I might be doing something right in this awfully wrong twisting world. One of my charities sent me an annual report...much better than a stupid calendar! I have a dozen of those 12 months graphics for next year already and I am of the age that I try not to look that far ahead! 

Some of the items on the list are first-world luxuries, such as checking the weather for the Month of October in that I can see if need to make a shopping trip for additions to the wardrobe.  

Others are a bit more tedious such as sorting and working on the four photos for our Master Gardener's Facebook page update, and re-scheduling volunteers for our final month of working with the art camp kids.

I will get the two grand-boys at the end of next week for about 4 days as a surprise change in schedule.  But hubby is already scheduling them for an overnight fishing trip, so not sure if I will squeeze in any passive time with them.

I splurged on two original works of art that I have wanted to have framed for years.  One is something my eldest grandson did while he was in grade school and I stole it from his mother's kitchen wall to frame as a surprise for her, and the other is something my son did when he was around thirteen or fourteen just before we had our tempest-tossed relationship. I will give it as a surprise holiday gift.  They both have a lot of emotion attached and would only be framed by someone who loved them.

Thanks for loyally stopping by and extra thanks if you leave a word or two.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Blessings Needed

We have returned the dog and my kids are home from their trip to Europe. Many lovely photos posted of all their adventures so I could pretend that I was with them. 
I called my daughter yesterday to see when to bring back their pet, because their weekend errands were probably too busy for them to pick up the dog, although they offered.

During the call my daughter explained she would be leaving on Sunday for a visit to an old college friend several hundred miles away. As I asked what caused this after her being away from work  for  several weeks, she started to cry and I realized the pieces of a puzzle I had seen on FB in the prior weeks. There is a precious 9-year-old angel with a smile that can stop your heart suffering from brain cancer. Options given to the stricken parents were surgery and treatments that could keep her alive for 6 months to two more years, but that was all.

I was not able to sleep at all  last night while I thought about the sisters, brothers, mothers and fathers and grandmothers and grandfathers in this family and how much shock and smothering pain they must all be in.  

Today we gathered dog beds, crate, toys and food.  We dropped the dog off and exchanged many hugs, all of us unable to put our minds and hearts around this.  

Naturally not feeling like posting much in the next few days. Also, hoping for miracles. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

A Tiny House Guest

The older you get, unless you have accumulated millions of dollars, the less important you are to the lives of others. I used to get grandchildren for a week each over the summer. It saved the parents money on camp and it gave me lots of hobbies and crafts opportunities with them. While the cooking part was a bit of a challenge, all else was exhaustingly marvelous.

Then they grew and are now on the cusp or past the cusp of crossing into teenagedom and their days are filled and super filled. The past two and a half weeks they have been exploring Scotland, Ireland, and Paris with their parents and another family. The trip comes to an end in a few days. I have seen the photos on Facebook and am amazed at how much they have crammed into this vacation.  Everything from castles in Scotland to Harry Potter to bicycling around the Louvre.  A visit with grandma is pretty dull!

I was not exactly forgotten.  Someone needed me it seems.

He gets me up and out of the house in the mornings.  We go together to the end of the driveway and bark at deer.

They ignore him.

Since he is left in a small cage most of his days when his owners are back (except for a mid-day dog walker), he seems a bit lost having the run of the house.  Thus far his only bad habit is licking the cushions wherever he sits!

We walk him on a leash but do let him out of the house with us leash-less once in a while and he pretty much hangs out nearby.  A very easy guest.  He does disappear when I bring out the mop or vacuum cleaner, though.  Not sure what that is all about.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Starts and Stops

I was supposed to have guests this weekend, but since they are millennials, they had a job issue and had to cancel. I understand this because the one who canceled works for DHS and clearly those "bureaucrats" are busier than ever these days. They have rescheduled for the middle of September and I look forward to seeing them at that time. I have grown close to these "kids."

So I have a free few days and what I did was wash and vacuum my car. Boy did it need it! I used to have free car washes at the dealership, but that expired and I got lazy and failed to move up my game! Now hubby is doing a duck and cover because if he puts anything of a dirty nature in the trunk, he is in trouble. (He uses his truck for boat and garden stuff and my car for errands!)

My house is clean because I was expecting guests, but I did not do any cooking or baking and so food tonight is going to be one leftover frozen swordfish fillet cooked (fried with miso) and then put over a fresh salad with added mung beans and many choices of dressings. 

I have been going over my photos from Colorado and Wyoming and will do a blog post on one of the hikes because the scenery was so inspiring.  I will post this on my other blog. I will link from this blog to that when it is done.

In the meantime, I am reading "The Blood Archive" which is a fiction about the Romanovs...sort of. It is written unevenly, the primary woman is hard to like, and the author throws in ghostly stuff with modern action and history. I am a third of the way through it and not sure that I like it!  But I will give it a shot.

Days already are starting to be shorter and highs are dropping below the 90s, so I am feeling better about that.  My late phlox are still in bloom and there are tons of butterflies still visiting the garden.

(Food for birds?)